Happy Women’s Day
On the occasion of Women’s day allow me to enlighten you all with some gyan on the inception of this day!
International Women’s Day (8 March) is an occasion marked by women’s groups around the world.
The idea of an International Women’s Day first arose at the turn of the century, which in the industrialized world was a period of expansion and turbulence, booming population growth and radical ideologies. Following is a brief chronology of the most important events:
In accordance with a declaration by the Socialist Party of America, the first National Woman’s Day was observed across the United States on 28 February. Women continued to celebrate it on the last Sunday of that month through 1913.
The Socialist International, meeting in Copenhagen, established a Women’s Day, international in character, to honour the movement for women’s rights and to assist in achieving universal suffrage for women. The proposal was greeted with unanimous approval by the conference of over 100 women from 17 countries, which included the first three women elected to the Finnish parliament. No fixed date was selected for the observance.
As a result of the decision taken at Copenhagen the previous year, International Women’s Day was marked for the first time (19 March) in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland, where more than one million women and men attended rallies. In addition to the right to vote and to hold public office, they demanded the right to work, to vocational training and to an end to discrimination on the job.
Less than a week later, on 25 March, the tragic Triangle Fire in New York City took the lives of more than 140 working girls, most of them Italian and Jewish immigrants. This event had a significant impact on labour legislation in the United States, and the working conditions leading up to the disaster were invoked during subsequent observances of International Women’s Day.
As part of the peace movement brewing on the eve of World War I, Russian women observed their first International Women’s Day on the last Sunday in February 1913. Elsewhere in Europe, on or around 8 March of the following year, women held rallies either to protest the war or to express solidarity with their sisters.
With 2 million Russian soldiers dead in the war, Russian women again chose the last Sunday in February to strike for “bread and peace”. Political leaders opposed the timing of the strike, but the women went on anyway. The rest is history: Four days later the Czar was forced to abdicate and the provisional Government granted women the right to vote. That historic Sunday fell on 23 February on the Julian calendar then in use in Russia, but on 8 March on the Gregorian calendar in use elsewhere.
Increasingly, International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of women’s rights.
In the early days if its observance, International Women’s Day was celebrated as a socialist holiday honoring working women With the resurgence of feminism in the late 1960s came a renewed interest in International Women’s Day. Feminists found it ready-made holiday for the celebration of women lives and work and began promoting March 8 as such. These efforts resulted in revitalized holiday in countries where it had been traditionally celebrated and inspired new interest in a number of countries where the holiday had previously not been observed.